Monday, February 11, 2013

How many wrongs does it take to make a right?

These Americans are crazy.

President Obama has discovered a new way of fighting wars, at a fraction of the cost (in blood and money) of the usual methods. There's a lot of debate to be had about drone strikes, but of all the possible arguments they could be rehearsing, the huge majority of Americans seem to be locked into the silliest one imaginable: whether it's OK to use them on American citizens.

I went to the lengths of looking up the rights attached to US citizenship. Nowhere does it mention "the right not to be killed by the US military, if it considers it necessary or expedient to do so".

The law that stands between me and anyone who wants to kill me is the law against murder, in whatever country I happen to be in at the time. And in every country I know of, that law says nothing about the citizenship of the victim. Murdering an American is no more, and no less, illegal than murdering a Pakistani, or a Saudi, or a Briton, or even a Frenchman. Obama may be breaking Yemeni law by launching drone strikes into Yemen, but to argue that he's violating US law by aiming them at US citizens is just wrong, on at least two very fundamental levels: by applying US law to what happens in Yemen, and by differentiating between murder victims by citizenship.

Just to put things in perspective: Abraham Lincoln ordered the killing of hundreds of thousands of US citizens. On US soil, no less. History does not generally condemn him for that.

Of all the things that Obama is (arguably) doing wrong, this simply isn't one.

No comments: